Whether you like it or not, the Top 35 in car owner points from last season are now locked into the field for the 49th Annual Daytona 500. While those teams can rest easy, the rest find themselves a nervous wreck from the minute they arrive in Florida. With Toyota stepping into the NASCAR’s elite series, Thursday’s Gatorade Duel 150s may end up being more important than the Great American Race itself for them and a number of other teams, all of whom are just trying to start the season with their heads above water.
Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick. Hmm, where have we seen these names before? They’ve all been through the Busch Series the first time, but they’ve come back for more. Why?
Daytona Beach, Fla. – From a press conference held outside his Daytona Beach condominium, NASCAR CEO Brian France announced today that the entire Daytona Beach Police Department will serve as NASCAR’s own private security force. The new force will be formally known as the “Official Security Attachment For Racing” or OSAFR, (pronounced ‘oss-a-fer’). OSAFR will begin its official association with NASCAR at the onset this year’s Daytona 500.
Introductions are in order. My name is Matt Taliaferro, and I’ll be one of your guides through a predictably unpredictable Nextel Cup season here on Frontstretch. I’m a “newbie” around here, a term the rest of the Frontstretch staff seems to love, as they’ve taken great joy in throwing the word around like Rusty with a water bottle at Bristol. As I was trying to say, as Scanner Static’s new “Static-stitian” I’ll be available throughout the week with any questions you may have concerning all things NASCAR. Whether you want a serious answer to a serious question, to slam me for something I said the week prior or you simply want to vent, this is an ideal forum in which to do so.
It was officially announced this week that Erin Crocker is scaling back her schedule to run only 12 ARCA races and four Busch Series races this year. Is this the begininng of the end, or can she make it back and become a success after all that happened this year?
10. Mark Martin: “I didn’t HAVE to win one, I get in the Shootout forever-which is handy, ’cause that’s how long I’m gonna race!”
Jeff Burton, veteran driver for Richard Childress Racing, may be feeling a little singled out by corporate America as it becomes more and more likely that he will lose his primary sponsorship from Cingular Wireless through no fault of his or his team. The latest saga in Burton’s sponsorship woes centers on AT&T’s recent acquisition of BellSouth/Cingular and the assumed changing of the Cingular identity logo to reflect AT&T’s ownership of them. NASCAR, as part of their series sponsorship agreement with Nextel Wireless had agreed contractually that no teams may acquire sponsorship from companies competing with Nextel. Or, as in the No. 31’s case, change their sponsor’s name.
No question about it; in today’s world of NASCAR, the youth movement has effectively taken control. And with today’s young drivers finding themselves behind the steering wheel at an earlier age than ever, the amount of untapped talent is high. There’s an immense amount of teenage sensations to sort through; read on to sift through the research and figure out which drivers experts say are better than Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart at their age and which ones can be closer compared to Paris Hilton and Ryan Leaf.
Last November, about the time that NASCAR’s “Silly Season” was officially declared to start, my personal life went into a “Silly Season” all its own, the seriousness of which, well… if you compared side by side pictures of Todd Bodine and myself, let’s just say that Todd appears to have a full head of hair.
This Week’s Question: This year, 36 of the 43 spots in the Daytona 500 will be already “locked in,” due to owner points and the past champion’s provisional held by Dale Jarrett. Is it fair that so many cars are guaranteed spots in the field, or should the vast majority of drivers and teams have to qualify their way into the Great American Race?
I don’t think there’s a grand conspiracy to give Toyota an advantage. Watching how Toyota has succeeded early in every racing venue they’ve put themselves in, it shouldn’t be a surprise. I am a little surprised at how the non-CoT cars performed at Daytona, but a couple of things there: One, it is a plate track, and two, well, it’s Toyota.
10. A Clinton/France campaign for President in ’08.